The movie Black Widow features dozens of versions of Black Widow, all of them part of the same sinister program spawned by the Red Room. There aren’t quite as many in the comic books, but there are a number of important versions of not just the Black Widow persona but also Natasha Romanoff as well.
Black Widow debuted in Marvel Comics in Tales of Suspense #52 back in April 1964 and since then, there have been a number of different versions of the character. Some comic books fans may argue which Black Widow is best, but many of them offer a unique take on the iconic Avenger.
10 Claire Voyant
Within the chronology of Marvel Comics and in the real world, Claire Voyant is the first Black Widow. Claire first appeared back in the Golden Age of Comics in Mystic Comics #4 in 194o, when Marvel was Timely Comics. She is a medium who dies and then returns to hunt down sinners, using powerful magic and psychic powers against her enemies.
She would be integrated into the Marvel Universe proper in 2005 as part of The Twelve mini-series, and she is among the most powerful magicians in the Marvel Universe.
9 Yelena Belova
Comics fans know that Yelena Belova is the second Black Widow to appear in the Marvel Universe. She debuted in Inhumans #5 in 1999 and her story mirrors what fans have seen of Yelena in the MCU so far. She was trained in the Red Room and then sent to capture Natasha. They aren’t family, figuratively or literally, in the comics, though.
Natasha does have a soft spot for the younger, more brash Widow, and the two would continue to build their friendship over the years. Yelena took over for Natasha as Black Widow after her apparent death in the Secret Empire crossover.
8 Black Widow 2099
With Loki opening up the multiverse in the MCU, a number of Marvel Comics’ darkest timelines are on the table for the franchise. One of them is the 2099 future, which has its own Black Widow. This version of the character is somewhat more literal than the others. Tania is a member of Avengers 2099 and though she’s a hero, she’s also dangerous. Her costume also features a mask with numerous red eyes, like the actual black widow spider.
7 House Of M
The Scarlet Witch radically altered reality in House Of M, a comic book storyline that inspired the WandaVision series. Black Widow was affected like everyone else, and this version of the character is one of the best – she’s the leader of the Soviet Super Soldiers, the Russian answer to the Avengers.
The team exists in main Marvel continuity as well, with a line-up that often includes the Red Guardian, a character comics fans know isn’t related to Natasha in the comics. Other members of the team included the Crimson Dynamo and Ursa Major, who were both Easter eggs in the Black Widow movie.
6 Ultimate Black Widow
The Ultimate Comics version of Black Widow is actually also one of the best alternate versions of Spider-Woman. In the Ultimate Comics universe of Earth-1610, Jessica Drew is a clone of Peter Parker who becomes Spider-Woman.
She then later becomes the third iteration of Black Widow in this universe, after Natasha and Monica Change. Jessica becomes Black Widow when she joins the All-New Ultimates, the universe’s version of the Avengers, and also begins a romance with her teammate and friend Kitty Pryde.
5 Monica Chang
Monica Chang is the second Black Widow in Ultimate Comics. She took on the persona after joining the Ultimates team and the unexpected death of Natasha Romanoff. Monica has a complicated relationship with Nick Fury, who is her ex-husband in Earth-1610.
They have an uneasy working relationship, but she’s a mainstay member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a vital member of the Ultimates to the end of the Ultimates universe. Given her connection to Fury, it’s possible that she is a character who could appear in the upcoming Secret Invasion series.
4 Worthy Black Widow
One of the best versions of Black Widow hails from the alternate reality of Earth-23223. This version has the power of Thor and appeared in What If? Age of Ultron #3 in 2014.
This story features an alternate reality where Natasha picked up Mjolnir and gained the powers of Thor. She fought against an invasion of Frost Giants, and then an invasion of Ultron drones from another dimension. It was one of her shining moments in terms of pure power, and one of the best interpretations of the character in the multiverse.
3 Ava Orlova
Ava Orlova is known as the Red Widow in Marvel Comics, but the inference is that she is part of the Black Widow program that produced both Natasha and Yelena. Natasha refers to her as her sister, though there is no family connection. Ava grew up to be a vigilante after Natasha rescued her from the Russian mob as a child.
Ava is a much more aggressive Widow than Natasha, rarely showing any of the discipline of the older spy and using an advanced system of electrical weapons. She can generate charges through both her guns and swords.
2 Age Of Ultron
Another dark future timeline the Avengers have to contend with is one in which Ultron takes over the world. Age Of Ultron presents a Natasha on the run, back to her old habits of being a spy but with no resources or support.
She is injured in the course of the story, though it’s not clear what happened to her. Many of the Avengers have been killed in a nuclear attack on New York City. In the story, Natasha does eventually team up with Moon Knight to fight back against Ultron.
1 Red Cat
One of the best and most unique versions of Black Widow is actually one of the best alternate versions of the Black Cat. Things transpired differently in the reality of Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality, and rather than become a super spy, Natasha becomes a jewel thief known as the Red Cat.
This story explores the Secret Wars era of Marvel Comics from 1985 when Peter Parker first got his black suit. He arrives back home thinking he’s come back to his reality, but in fact, it’s a very different one than he left.
10 Coolest Superhero Catchphrases Of All Time, Ranked
About The Author